Wii U Struggles In Japan Following Hot PS4 Release

By William Usher 2014-03-12 10:01:09 discussion comments
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It looks like the Japanese have to bide their monies wisely these days, as the wallet cries out from the pain of being put hard to the use of video games. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll lay it out bare and clear: The Japanese sales charts for the week ending on March 9th doesn't look too good for Nintendo and the Wii U.

Nintendo Everything dropped some hard numbers for the Japanese sales week between March 3rd and March 9th. The top 10 hardware chart shows the PS4 dominating like an uncontrollable beast on a rampage, racking up 35,294 SKU sales, down from the 65,685 SKUs moved the week before. Still, the numbers are impressive.

The PS4 has also kept the PS Vita in good pace with it, as Sony's handheld moved 31,325, up from the week prior where it shifted 21,581. It's looking as if the handheld is holding steady in moderate sales thanks to the ramped up presence of the PS4 on the market. The complete chart is as follows:

PS4 35,294
Vita 31,325
3DS LL 24,192
PS3 12,102
3DS 10,876
Wii U 7,773
PSP 3,425
Vita TV 1,962
Xbox 360 300

If you compare this to last year's Media Create sales data, as captured by Gematsu, the Wii U was up by a few thousand units by comparison. The week ending on March 10th of 2013 had the following numbers (with the stats in parenthesis being the previous week's sales numbers)

PlayStation Vita 63,581 (62,543)
3DS LL 39,801 (50,265)
3DS 21,207 (27,174)
PlayStation 3 19,567 (25,725)
PSP 18,023 (11,171)
Wii U 9,454 (10,021)
Wii 1,363 (1,383)
Xbox 360 738 (486)

Of course, a lot of hardware sales are propelled by available software. Sadly, there hasn't been much recently to help boost sales for the Wii U on the software front, hence the low numbers. This was a trend even in the following week of Japanese sales, according to the charts on Gematsu.

As for this year... the release of the PS4 doesn't help, as the hype that Sony carries with it is remarkably powerful right now.

Prior to the release of the PS4, the Wii U managed some decent numbers, with December showing the Wii U moving 109,113 SKUs in Japan, as captured by Nintendo Everything. Unfortunately, the Wii U had a massive dropoff following the holiday season heading into January.

I don't expect that the Wii U will surge again until it gets another hard hitter... more appropriately, Mario Kart 8. Since third-parties seem intent on killing Nintendo, it's unlikely that they'll pump out anything worthwhile between now and May.

But as history has shown, the sales power of Mario Kart is strong. It's one of the few titles that can force hardware to shift off store shelves and the Wii U is very likely to hit its stride from May going forward. The only question mark is whether or not Nintendo will market the living crap out of the system and the game come release time? It's an understatement to say that Nintendo needs Mario Kart 8 to shift hardware, as the hype for the PS4 isn't likely to die down anytime soon and Microsoft is just as likely to buy their way into higher install base numbers, since they can't seem to do it based solely on consumer interest.
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